erik lundegaard

National Board of Review Picks J.C. Chandor's 'A Most Violent Year' as the Best Movie of 2014

A Most Violent Year

Oscar Isaac in “A Most Violent Year.”

A day after the New York Film Critics Circle annointed “Boyhood” the best movie of the year, it's the National Board of Review's turn. And that organization, in existence since 1909, went with a movie I've heard good things about even if I haven't heard a release date yet: “A Most Violent Year,” written and directed by J.C. Chandor (“All Is Lost,” “Margin Call”), and starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. I know Jeff Wells is high on it, for one. 

As is its wont, NBR also listed its top 10 films:

Wait. That's #s 2-11, isn't it? Because “A Most Violent Year” isn't on it. 

Here's the rest of their awards. See if you can't figure out what's odd about the list:

  • Best Film: A Most Violent Year
  • Best Director: Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
  • Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman
  • Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
  • Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton – Birdman
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
  • Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
  • Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Breakthrough Performance: Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
  • Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
  • Best Documentary: Life Itself
  • William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
  • Best Ensemble: Fury
  • Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma

Yeah, it goes on a bit long, but that's not what I'm talking about. Here's what I'm talking about: How can “How to Train Your Dragon 2” be the best animated feature when it didn't make the top 10 (or #s 2-11) and “The LEGO Movie” did?  

As for what this means for the Oscar race? Not much. In the 21st century, NBR has picked the same best picture as the Academy two times out of 14 tries. In reverse chronological order, NBR went: Her, Zero Dark Thirty, Hugo, The Social Network, Up in the Air, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, Letters from Iwo Jima, Good Night and Good Luck, Find Neverland, Mystic River, The Hours, Moulin Rouge, Quills.

To be honest, I always thought of it as a squishy organization: “Neverland” and “Good Night and Good Luck” and all that. Looks like it's taken a violent turn. Or it's got a thing for Jessica Chastain.

Oh, and the release date for “A Most Violent Year” is Dec. 31. Cutting it close, A24.

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Posted at 07:51 AM on Thu. Dec 04, 2014 in category Movies - Awards  
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